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Preparation plan for UPSC prelims exam for new aspirants



The IAS Main Exam happens to be a vital part of Civil Services Exam. One has to be vigilant of all the dimensions involved while appearing for the IAS Main. Revolutionary changes were introduced during this very year, i.e. 2013, in both pattern and syllabus of examination. And in August, UPSC has introduced one more change that is profoundly going to change the way Main Exam has been attempted and maneuvered by candidates so far. Below is presented the text that has been introduced in the Civil Service Main (CSM). Instruction document that is released by the UPSC after result of Preliminary paper that contains important instructions regarding the filling of Main form. “Candidates should note that instead of separate Question Paper and Answer Book, a consolidated Question Paper-cum-Answer Book, having space below each part/sub part of a question shall be provided to them for writing the answers. Candidates shall be required to attempt answer to the part/sub-part of a question strictly within the pre-defined space. Any attempt outside the pre-defined space shall not be evaluated.

First important thing will be how you manage your time, thoughts and writing style. Somebody who writes in larger font size will be at a disadvantage because of the lesser number of words he can fit in the space. At the same time, we would caution not to indulge in micro-lettering that can frustrate and irritate the evaluator. Rather an optimum letter size is suggested, the same can be decided based on your flair of writing. So, one should practice lots of writing.


Planning for Current Events

Since it’s a subjective paper, one keep in mind two components: ‘process’ and ‘content’. Process includes how to write a good essay and content involves what to write in a good essay that is subject matter. Writing essay in a right way requires a multipronged strategy. One must consider following points:

  1. Proper, simple and grammatically correct language must be used.
  2. Ordering of essay should be done. Essay has three parts introduction, main body, and conclusion. All three are equally important. A good conclusion can fetch 10 to 20 more marks.
  3. Correct information with daily life experiences to give personal touch and uniqueness to the essay.
  4. Proper time management should be there. Each and every minute should be utilized. Time should be allotted to each section in a rational manner.
  5. One should have a clear understanding of topic on which he is writing. Always stay close to the topic and avoid deviating from it.
  6. Don’t enter the examination hall with a particular mindset as it can restrict the flow of ideas.

Interdisciplinary Approach in Study
In order to answer holistic nature of questions asked in IAS exam, specially in Main, aspirants are advised to develop interdisciplinary approach in study different subjects and topics. It will help to understand all dimensions associated with the topic.
The interdisciplinary approach is a method of integrating different informations from different subjects, headings topics to answer different nature of questions asked in the IAS Exam. For example topic can be studied or analysed on political, economic, social or scientific ground or parameters. It can also be based on its problems, issues, application, impacts, etc.

For instance, Government decision in changing previous economic policy has short and long term implication. Its impacts can be social, economic, political, demographic or scientific.
In developing interdisciplinary approach in study, aspirants need to develop and expand their outlook towards topics keeping in mind all aspects and dimensions of the topic. For this, topics can be related with different happening and changes that occur around in society, environment, polity, etc.

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How to Read

Aspirants often face trouble when see the extensive syllabus of Main exam. So various points should be followed:

  • One should be objective and try to focus on upsc syllabus as per analysis of trend of questions asked in recent years.
  • The next thing to be kept in mind is the choice of study material. Be wise and just refer few standard books to get a deep insight of the subject. Reading from too many books will do more harm than good.
  • Lastly it is good to be selective while preparing for a given topic, to list all the important  points and the relevant information in a logical framework.
  • It is important to remember that studying for the exam involves purposeful reading which is basically reading with a certain focus on the given topic and preparing for the possible questions accordingly.
  • Before starting on any topic, it is  a wise move to go through the questions asked in the past about the given topic and jot down the probable questions for the current year. It gives an idea to the kind of material one need to study to be able to answer such questions effectively.
  • Mentally analyze all that you have read and try to logically link all the points and see if you have understood everything. Such a kind of periodical revision will help in the long run as it ensures to increase your understanding, improves and enhances memory thus making you more confident so that you give your best performance.

How to Prepare Notes
Aspirants might have heard a hundred times about the importance of taking small or micro notes for the IAS exam. But how do they do it in a manner that the notes are concise, effective, readable in a short time, all at once. After all they will need to go through these small notes for IAS exam before the preliminary and/or the Main in just a few days or even hours.
There are several good reasons for making own notes:

  • It helps to understand any given topic, pick out the important points and to summarize them.
  • Writing down any information helps to remember the whole topic’s content matter better.
  • It makes a good practice for thinking and writing easy.
  • It prompts to revise their work since it does not take a long time to go through a set of well made notes.
  • Also helps you in your final revision by reminding you of the most important points of each topic.

There are different methods of making notes and one should decide which method suits him/her the best. Two common methods of making notes are:
Linear Method: It is a method in which one condenses the material after reading ing, using headings and sub headings and sub headings and jotting down the most important points. This method works best when making notes from a book where the material is already properly organized. But one disadvantage of this method is that it ends up copying a lot of material from the book which defeats the very purpose of condensing.
Pattern Method: For this, begin the topic at the centre of the page. Each line radiating from it represents branch of the main idea. Each point is written as briefly as possible using a key word or a phrase. It is a better method to adopt because.

  • It is more flexible than making linear notes. One can add extra information to it at any point without any problem.
  • We can see  the  whole pattern at one go without actually turning the pages.
  • Thirdly we can indicate the links between different topics more easily than we can do in a linear method.

But this method has some disadvantages as well. If there are too many facts and too much of information, the pattern becomes messy and over-crowded. Using key words can remind the of basic ideas but when it comes to remembering details, this method cannot be sufficient.
Therefore the most effective way of making good notes from the sources available is to use a combination of these two linear and pattern methods. One important thing to remember is that for many subjects, notes will have to include diagrams, charts, tables and mind-maps. They


How to Read

Guidelines For Essay Writing

  1. Select the Topic
  2. If the topic is in question form directly such as, “Can capitalism bring inclusive growth…..?” or  “Technology can not replace manpower”, take an impartial and unbiased stand.
  3. If the topic is just a statement like “Women in parliament- achievements and prospects” , you will have a space/words limit to explore the topic  from many perspectives with relevant facts, and conclusion should be balanced justified.
  4. Planning
  5. Most topics demand a balanced approach. The contestants should be objective in expressing their opinion.
  6. They must give evidences and examples in support of their opinion and argument
  7. Prioritize points according to their importance and value, so that they can be dealt with the most important points in first paragraph after introduction.
  8. Interlink each point and they must be relevant to the topic. Thus, planning it the blue print of the essay.


  1.   Writing
  2. Introduction
  3. State the purpose of essay in the introduction. A  good introduction. A good introduction clearly tells the readers what to expect in the rest of the essay, i.e.
  4. Begin with attractive headings such as:

Startling Information: This information must be true. It could simply be a pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the points the contestants wish to make. if they use a piece of startling information, follow it with a few sentences.

  1.  Body of Essay: the main body of essay starts after introduction according to importance of points mentioned in the introduction in a paragraph form. Each point must be dealt based on reasoning and logic, Logic should be argued with the help of relevant evidences and examples.
  2. Inter-linking of points: Make judicious use of connective and transition sentences in and between paragraphs. This makes the essay presentable and curious. But use them as per demand of the context.


Conclusion: A logical or expository essay must lead to conclusion. The contestants should neither sum up their essay in conclusion. They should express what conclusion has been drawn from all the arguments they have written in the essay.

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